Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Northport, NY
Thanked 94 Times in 94 Posts
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Sailing as a senior
Most people likely start sailing and boat owning when they are perhaps in their 30s to maybe 50 or so? A poll would be interesting. I began at the age of 37 and closed on Shiva which I still owe... a new Contest36s. We've grown old together. I have to work more and more and harder and harder to keep her in shape... because stuff gets old and needs attention or replacement... and often items are no longer supported... such as the MD17D engine. So even if I have a pump that fails.... it may no longer be available. Just finding a solution/work around is a project! All boat owners who own older boats know this. New boats, new cars, they don't have THIS sort of problem.
Which brings me to the skipper / owners... They/we get old too. And not all our parts can be replaced and when they are work like what we were born with. Normal to aging are things like arthritis which caused problems with your joints... stiffness, limited range of motion... pain... lost flexibility and control. Balance is often slowly being effected as you age as you need good control of your leg muscles and feedback from the legs in your nerves to keep your balance without thinking about it. Older you get... the less steady you are on your feet. All you can do is be more conscious of your deficit and try to compensate.
Knee problems? You won't likely be jumping off your deck onto a dock. Single handing docking becomes more and more difficult when simply jumping from the dock is not possible. You will need to use more hand holds even when years before you didn't need them.
You can use helpers.... roller furled sails... electric windlass for anchoring.... an AP to steer.... and electric winches or a drill with a winch bit to hoist sails, OBs, dinks or anything heavy.
What are you doing as your body's old taken for granted abilities are disappearing? When is too much and time to turn in your deck shoes? How viable is it to sail with crew? Helpers to do boat maintenance.... Or do you pay mechanics? Do you sail less and evolve into a fair weather sailor avoiding the more challenges days out there?
Have you even a plan/exit strategy for ending your sailing and boat ownership?
Share your thoughts about sailing and owning a boat as a senior.
pay attention... someone's life depends on it